Do your children watch the news? Mine do, sporadically, if it is on and something catches their attention they will sit and watch or they occasionally will listen to the news when in the car. I am trying to get the balance right particularly with the six and eight year old. Half of me wants to just wrap them in blankets and tell them only about the nice things in the world, it’s not very realistic though is it? So we drip feed things to them I suppose, let them watch the news when they have an interest and try to answer their questions , reassure them and try to get the balance right. I don’t think I give them credit of how much they do take in and often they will surprise me my talking about current events happening around the world.
Like most weeks, there is so much tragedy nationally and internationally this week. Drowning, road deaths, planes falling out of the sky, Gaza. I will admit to an irrational crippling fear of flying and I have overdosed on news of the recent air disasters so naturally the children are aware of them. I would hate if they got my fear of flying, they have nothing to gain from watching media coverage of plane crashes. I have told them how it is the safest form of travelling and how road deaths are by far more common. Then I started to worry would they start to get worried about being passengers in cars but yet wanting them to always remain cautious when crossing roads. It’s a complete mindfuck, finding the balance.
The boy seems in particular to have a lot of questions about bombs and about war. He recently asked had there been in wars in Ireland. So we tried to explain about Northern Ireland. It is hard to do, can you give your children basic brief overviews without clouding them with personal opinion? We taught them the words of Come Out Ye Black and Tans and got them a tiocfaidh ar la tattoo………. No. Not really .Yes there was talk of British oppression but the atrocities carried out by the IRA were explained too and the work of all parties to achieve the peace process. The kids eyes glazed over at this point I’m sure. I don’t want them to have the traditional anti-british stance that was so typical of Irish culture in the past but of course I want to them understand, appreciate and enjoy learning about the history of their nation and manage to form their own understanding and opinions.
I came downstairs this morning and found the boy watching coverage of Gaza, this morning. There were questions. I was stuck between changing the channel and putting on cartoons to distract him or try to explain. I had seen this video online, it is a brief and easy to understand overview of Israel and Palestine, so I played it for him. If anybody else has children asking questions about what is going on, I would recommend it.
We watched it, he grasped some of it. He asked questions and I tried to answer them. We talked about protesting and why it is important.
Should I have changed the subject to dinosaurs or sharks straight away? I don’t know. How much information is too much information?They do have to know the world isn’t all good all of the time don’t they? I do think I would prefer, most of the time, to just talk about rainbows and dinosaurs and loom bands but I will try to answer the questions as they come and continue on our search to find unicorns too and keep on trucking blindly through parenting. It doesn’t get easier does it? I think I preferred toilet training and tantrums.